Friday, April 11, 2008


The Metropolitan Opera House's production of Philip Glass's
"Satyagraha" will open today. (Go to for full details
on this)

An excerpt from a New York Times feature on this --
"While lasting only a few minutes, the scene stands as perhaps the
most striking moment in the Met's production of "Satyagraha," Philip
Glass's 1979 opera about Mohandas K. Gandhi's years in South Africa.
It sharply illustrates the central design idea behind this production:
how the elaborate use of simple materials can create a
musical-theatrical world. Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, the
artistic directors of the Improbable theater company in London, are
the director and the designer of the opera, which has its Met debut on
Friday and runs through May 1. The tottering puppets are created from
newspaper, fiberglass kite poles, light cotton cloth and lots of latex
glue. The sets are made largely of corrugated metal. Wicker baskets
and brooms become a crocodile. Chairs held over faces become symbolic

"We decided we wanted to use very humble materials in the making of
the opera," Mr. Crouch said. "We wanted similarly to take these
materials, maybe associated with poverty, and see if we could do a
kind of alchemy with that, turn them into something beautiful."

The dominant medium is newsprint. Coated newspapers paper the stage
floor. Balled-up pages represent stones thrown at Gandhi. Text is
projected on newspaper sheets held up by actors. News pages are
manipulated into a Hindu goddess. Long strips of attached pages ribbon
across the stage, representing a printing press. (Maybe the newspaper
industry doesn't have to die after all.) "It's an ordinary object
that, when transformed, becomes magical," Mr. McDermott said.
"Ordinary simple actions, when done with commitment, become something
powerful," he said, a quality of Gandhi's idea of "satyagraha," a
Sanskrit term that can be translated as "truth-force" and stands for
Gandhi's principle of nonviolent resistance."

Read the full article at--

See the video of Satyagraha at--

Read the New York Times Review of this Opera at --

Other events related to this that sound very interesting--
-- 'GANDHI, GLASS AND SATYAGRAHA' This exhibition with photographs
from the production as well as historical photographs and artwork will
be on view through April 19 at the New York Public Library for the
Performing Arts.
-- FORUM Gandhi's grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi, will be among those
participating in "Satyagraha: Gandhi's 'Truth Force' in the Age of
Climate Change," a free forum with discussions of the philosophies of
Gandhi, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thoreau and Emerson on
Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

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